God’s Faithfulness to FPU Over the Last—and for the Next—75 Years

God’s Faithfulness to FPU Over the Last—and for the Next—75 Years

In C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series the talking mouse Reepicheep sails to the end of the world and in an act of courage much greater than his size he sacrifices his earthly life to save his friends but in so doing also realizes his dream of reaching “Aslan’s Country,” God’s place prepared for us. As we as a university community mark 75 years of our journey together I cannot help but reflect on the courage of each individual who has committed his or her time, passion and fortunes to establish, nurture and to grow this place.

We began our Fresno Pacific University Board of Trustees meeting a day earlier than normal in order to accommodate the biennial convention of the Pacific District conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches that met this last weekend. The work of this university is truly a ministry of the church, not just of the Mennonites but of each faith tradition represented among those who work here and those who study here. Many have made sacrifices in hard times, even recently, but God is faithful.

Those who are able to attend our Gala celebration Saturday night were treated to a wonderful display of the possible. Distinguished alumni were highlighted and honored. Their stories remind us just how many people can be impacted by the success of a single student. We also heard from four of our past presidents. Each one related some of the unique challenges they faced during their respective presidencies. In each story we were reminded that our forebears all faced challenges, but they persevered. One story in particular was told by D. Merrill Ewert. He talked of a board meeting where the budget looked bleak. Concern and foreboding hung in the room. Then someone read a passage from the Psalms, and the board chair prayed. No, the budget was not instantly fixed. But the pall hanging in the room dissipated. And the mood lightened. And we are still here.

I am pleased to report that during our board meetings this last weekend we celebrated a hard-won budget surplus and progress in restoring compensation levels. And as Dr. Joe announced to the Gala, as of that night we have only $2 million remaining to raise toward a $13.5 million budget for new Culture and Arts Center. We should thank God for the opportunities he is giving us. But we must also recognize that our university continues to face challenges, that a single year’s surplus is not the same as financial health and that our continued fulfilment of our mission will only come about by daily answering God’s call to service. I can only hope that at Fresno Pacific’s 150th Anniversary those who follow us will be able to tell stories of our courage and how they are inspired to impact their neighbors for the cause of Christ.


Josh Wilson, J.D.

Chair, Fresno Pacific University Board of Trustees